Groups Target Hill Votes On NSA Bills

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Sunlight Foundation, and Greenpeace have teamed on a new online scorecard to grade members of Congress on their votes on communications privacy legislation the groups are monitoring.

The interactive site,, will also encourage online activism targeted at those who don't make the grade. The goal is reform of the National Security Agency data collection apparatus and to "inspire constituents to hold their elected officials accountable on mass surveillance reform," including by encouraging Web surfers to tweet their members either thanking them or asking them to do more.

Of the 100 senators and 433 representatives graded, 241 of them (45%) received “A” grades, while 188 flunked. Another 77 members (14%) received question marks for "no measurable action."

The President has already taken some steps to end bulk collection of data by NSA and other agencies, and Congress has several relevant bills in the works. But the groups are looking for more from both the President and the legislature.

The site also includes an open letter to the President to end mass surveillance now, without waiting for Congress to act.

Also backing the online effort are the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, FreedomWorks, Free Press Action Fund, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Libertarian Party, Liberty Coalition, OpenMedia, PEN America, Reddit, Restore the Fourth, Taskforce, TechFreedom and ThoughtWorks.

The groups said the launch of the scorecard coincided with a joint campaign by Greenpeace, EFF and the Tenth Amendment Center to try and fly a sign over the NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah, bearing the message “NSA Illegal Spying Below."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.